A vasectomy is an outpatient male sterilization procedure that blocks sperm from reaching the semen. Whereas a standard vasectomy requires the surgeon to make two incisions in the scrotum, a no-scalpel vasectomy uses a simple puncture.
Some people may refer to a no-scalpel vasectomy as a laser vasectomy, which is inaccurate because no lasers are involved in the procedure.
This article looks at what to expect from the procedure, including the risks and side effects, the necessary aftercare, and some potential alternative options. It also addresses the cost of the procedure.
A vasectomy is an outpatient sterilization procedure. During a vasectomy, a doctor will cut and seal the two tubes that allow the sperm to leave the testicles. These tubes are called vas deferens.
This procedure stops the sperm from reaching the semen that the penis ejaculates.
A no-scalpel vasectomy uses a medical instrument to poke a small hole in the scrotum. The surgeon will then use a special tool to stretch the opening so that they can reach the vas deferens.
- less bleeding
- less bruising
- less pain during and after the procedure
- shorter operation duration
- shorter recovery time
The authors also noted that there was no difference in effectiveness between the procedures.
A no-scalpel vasectomy is an outpatient procedure, which means that the person should be able to return home the same day.
Before getting a vasectomy, it is important to understand
- Healthcare professionals consider a vasectomy to be permanent.
- If the semen analysis is negative, the chance of pregnancy will be 1 in 2,000.
- A repeat vasectomy is necessary for 0.24% of people.
- As with any procedure, there will be risks, such as a 1–2% chance of hematoma or infection.
- There is approximately a 1% chance of developing chronic scrotal pain.
- scrotal pain
- sexual function
- genitourinary health concerns
They will also perform a physical exam to ensure that a person is able to undergo the procedure.
The surgeon will advise the individual on any special instructions, including what medications to stop or avoid prior to the procedure, such as aspirin.
A person should ask the surgeon any questions they have concerning the procedure and let them know if they would like a sedative or general anesthesia for the procedure.
Anyone who opts for either a sedative or general anesthesia will need to plan to have another person drive them to and from the procedure.
During the procedure
In most cases, the procedure occurs in a doctor’s office with the use of local numbing agents.
During the procedure, a surgeon will apply a numbing agent around the areas where they will create the puncture. They will then use a tool to stretch the opening to reach the vas deferens. The surgeon will cut the tube and then seal the ends.
Finally, they will apply a covering to the puncture wounds.
The entire procedure takes about 20–30 minutes.
Following the procedure, a person will likely experience mild discomfort to moderate pain and need to rest for about 2 days. The scrotum may also be swollen for 2–3 days.
People should wait until 4 days after the procedure to resume their usual activities. They should also wait 7–10 days before engaging in physical and sexual activities.
It is important to note that a person will not be immediately sterile and that alternative forms of birth control are necessary. It may take 10–20 ejaculations before sperm no longer mix in with the semen.
Typically, a doctor will schedule a follow-up 90 days after the procedure to check sperm levels.
Learn more about recovery after a vasectomy.
What kind of pain can a person expect?
During the procedure, a no-scalpel vasectomy is almost painless.
Although a person will experience pain while a surgeon administers the anesthetic, from then on, they may feel only minimal discomfort.
After the procedure, some people will experience mild discomfort during recovery, while others will have moderate pain. When resuming sexual intercourse, some people report discomfort during ejaculation while they heal.
In comparison with a traditional vasectomy, no-scalpel methods reduce:
- the risk of infection
Approximately 1% of all people develop complications, such as:
- minor infection
- chronic discomfort
- bleeding under the skin
Other, rarer complications include:
- chronic pain
- bleeding at the site
- temporary pain
- vasectomy failure
- sperm granuloma, which is the formation of a hard ball due to sperm leaking out
- testicular atrophy, which is extremely rare
A no-scalpel vasectomy may be reversible, but there is no guarantee.
A person should keep in mind that vasectomy reversals can be expensive and that insurance companies may not cover the cost.
People generally refer to the alternative to a no-scalpel vasectomy as a traditional vasectomy.
The two procedures are similar, but for the traditional vasectomy, the doctor uses a scalpel to make one or two small incisions in the scrotum.
Planned Parenthood notes that a person can expect to pay between $0 and $1,000 for a vasectomy.
The cost will depend on the type of vasectomy, where a person gets it, and whether a person’s health insurance will cover the cost.
Although healthcare plans may cover all or part of vasectomy services, a person should contact their insurance provider to check the status prior to the procedure. The Affordable Care Act does not require insurance companies to cover a vasectomy.
Individuals without insurance should talk with a doctor’s office about the options for paying for the procedure out of pocket. In some cases, a discounted rate may be available.
Planned Parenthood also notes that vasectomies are six times cheaper than the female sterilization procedure, which is called tubal ligation.
A no-scalpel vasectomy is a safe, outpatient procedure with a short recovery time.
During the procedure, a surgeon will create a small puncture in the scrotum so they can reach the vas deferens. They will then cut and seal the tubes.
Healthcare professionals consider a vasectomy a permanent form of birth control. However, this procedure can sometimes be reversible.
Although sides effects are rare, they can occur. Most people fully recover within 7–10 days and achieve sterilization within about 90 days.